Chinese Drinking Games – Most Popular Drinking Games In China
International game drinking etiquette (it’s a serious business) and China’s own drinking sports!
If you have been reading previous posts on the blog you will now be aware of baijiu, its health benefits, flavours and historical significance. But how does China’s national spirit drink fit in to the complex and very important pastime of drinking games?
Well, the Chinese have a number of fun activities up their sleeves in this department – and we will look at these in more detail a little later in this piece.
If you have ever taken part in any type of drinking game, whether as a student at University, a high flying executive at work, or just with friends at your local bar – you’ll know that these occasions are often messy, lawless, incredibly drunken and generally bad news if you’re not very good at winning things.
But did you know there is an international drinking game code? Yes folks, that’s right – no need to suffer those hangovers that seem to last for weeks, even months – just follow this set of rules, known, unofficially as ‘The International Drinking Rules’
V.I.P Jiu 8 – The Imperial Baijiu: Historically, enjoyably and restoratively the best baijiu in the world. 贵宾酒8 – 有史以来举世无双的白酒佳酿
The journey of V.I.P Jiu 8 starts in Northern England and unfolds across many continents with amazing highs and life threatening lows. An accumulation of events that lead to the re-birth of a 300 year old imperial Chinese liquor that started life within the walls of the forbidden city, once home to the highest imperial echelons of power during the Ming and Qing dynasty.
As a wine and spirit lover I have conducted a number of tastings for clients, cogitated over pairing selections for food and advised newly engaged couples on the ideal choice of beverage for their forthcoming nuptials. This has varied greatly, from luscious reds, to zingy and fresh white wines, to fabulous Gins and Whiskey’s When you are thinking about a great selection of spirits, it is highly likely that you are liable to consider those aforementioned choices, or perhaps an Armagnac, or Cognac – and given their popularity worldwide – they would be a fine choice.
You would also be forgiven for thinking that these spirits are the best selling in the world. Well, dear reader, you would be mistaken. The people of the great and vast country of China have spent centuries cultivating, developing, and selling a drink that has turned into the worlds top selling spirit. Baijiu. 5 Billion, yes 5 Billion, litres of the drink were sold in 2016 alone.
So, what do you need to know about this fascinating, yet unfamiliar spirit to many outside of China? Well, it has an aroma (See baijiu aromas) and character that is both unique – and even to the hardened spirit drinker – a true test of getting the right taste and variety that appeals and turns on your taste buds like nothing else you have ever tried in your life. The drink is believed to have emanated from as far back as circa AD960, through ancient Chinese dynasties, but in its current form, is believed to have been around since the infamous Ming dynasty. Meaning ‘clear liquor’ Baijiu is generally distilled from Sorghum Wheat, or other grains like Barley. Certain styles in South West China might use Rice as a constituent and, though clear, is more likely to resemble a dark spirit, like Whisky, especially in complexity and character. (See baijiu ingredients)
Is Baijiu Good For You? Drinking Baijiu Health Benefits
THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF BAIJIU
Like a politician that’s always honest or a doctor whose prescription handwriting is always legible, many things don’t go hand in hand in the world in which we live in. While the latter example might be debatable no one could ever have thought of a health giving hard liquor. Yet, the Chinese national drink, Baijiu defiles all odds by making hard liquor salubrious. This is why it comes as no surprise that the high proof, fermented spirit is the best selling and most widely consumed spirit in the world. With people drinking about 5 billion Litres of Baijiu in a year.
Yes, we know that grape wine is good for the heart and body, but Chinese baijiu exceeds the efficacy of grape wine as it confers many health giving properties to the body which are further expanded on below.
China is renowned across the world for its rich history, fascinating culture, being the leader in major advances in the areas of technology and medicine, efficient working methods – and with a habitation of over 1.4 billion people – is the world’s most populous country. But did you also know that this vast nation also has a long association with the production and development of alcoholic drinking beverages? It’s believed that the first grape fermented drink – aka Wine – was consumed (and enjoyed) there around 7000 BC.
The nation also produces a fabulous, but perhaps less familiar drink to some of you, called Baijiu – made predominately from grain. Now you may be thinking ‘I don’t know much about this drink’. So, if I were to ask you what the Worlds biggest selling spirit was, you’d probably say, Vodka, Rum, or Gin. But, you’d be wrong, it is Baijiu! Shocked? Dismayed? Well, you shouldn’t be, it’s much more of a rarity outside of its home country – in fact it actually makes up over 99% of Chinese spirit sales alone.
The image of a missing child’s visage on a carton of milk was once a hugely common sight in western society. There is a substantial problem with this idea in China, however; the country is not a nation of dairy consumers. How can this be resolved?
Well, the sizable city of Chongqing came up with a unique solution. The general manager of Chongqing Laoyuanzi Wine Co. Ltd, Xiao Dufeng, hit upon the idea of raising awareness of missing children – many of who are feared abducted – on their bottles of baijiu.
On paper, it’s a curious choice. After all, many of us choose to sip on spirits to relax and escape the more unpleasant realities of life in the 21st Century. The reality is, however, that baijiu is China’s national beverage of choice.
Baijiu Collector Makes It Into Guinness World Records
In 2013 a 61 year old collector of baijiu made it into the Guinness World Records book. Ning Fenglian is the chairman at Baishan Fangda a large alcohol distributor in Jilin Provence.
Ning started his collection in 1974 and has been adding to his collection ever since. Since childhood Ning says he developed an affinity to Chinese alcoholic drinks which resulted in him working within the alcohol industry.
Ning started working in a wine store in the 1990s which was running at a loss but Ning turned the losses into gains through bold and innovative measures.
At one time during the 1990s many stores were out of stock of Moutai but Ning had built up good connections with the producers and was able to profit from the shortage by ensuring the empty stores were stocked with Moutai on a regular basis.
Since then Nings company has went from strength to strength with over 300 branches across China.
Nings entire baijiu collection is on permanent loan to the Jilin Culture Museum which he built in 2014.
Back in the mid-1990’s, I had the good fortune to work at Oddbins. In 1995, labels were handwritten and the knowledge had to be retained as there was no database of notes to rely on! I recall this job as each Saturday we carried out a tasting.
One aspect involved educating our customers on whisky and occasionally other spirits like vodka, gin and rum. When showcasing a whisky, the selection was usually two differing categories such as Islay and Speyside. Allowing consumers to genuinely recognise the difference often helped perceptions of this fine spirit and aside from selling bottles, it was a fun education.
But the world’s biggest selling spirit is not a whisky or indeed any other spirit named above. Shifting over 10 billion bottles a year is a Chinese spirit called Baijiu, something that I’d never heard of 23 years ago.
Baijiu also has varying categories which are known as ‘aromas’. There are 4 main baijiu aromas with a degree of smaller variations.
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